Live chicks from Alberta hatchery linked to salmonella outbreak
Thirty-four reported illnesses in Alberta, B.C. and Saskatchewan in April and May
The Public Health Agency of Canada said it is investigating an outbreak of salmonella linked to live chicks from an Alberta hatchery.
Thirty-four people reported getting sick — 17 in Alberta, 13 in B.C. and four in Saskatchewan — between April 5 and May 12.
Alberta Agriculture is working with the unnamed hatchery to determine the source of the infection, and said the hatchery will send letters to customers who placed orders for live baby poultry beginning March 1.
Symptoms of salmonella include fever, chills, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, nausea and vomiting.
The public health agency warned people to always wash their hands after handling live birds, and said they should never "snuggle or kiss the birds."
Those at highest risk for infection are children under the age of five, pregnant women, the elderly and those with weak immune systems.
"Young children are at higher risk of infection because they often enjoy handling and interacting with live baby poultry and may not wash their hands before putting their fingers or other contaminated items in or near their mouths," the agency said in a news release.
"If infected, young children are also at increased risk for serious illness because their immune systems are still developing."